A SAUCHIE man proved it is never too late to go on the adventure of a lifetime after he embarked on a three-and-a-half-month voyage, sailing all alone at the age of 77.
More up for anything than ever before in his life, local man Murdoch McGregor recently returned to the Wee County after a 14-week round trip sailing to Berlin and back in his 23ft boat.
Despite the fact that he had never been in a sailing boat until five years ago, enthusiastic Murdoch, whose voice may be familiar from previous Alloa Round Table Half Marathons, completed the 2,400-mile voyage across the North and Baltic Seas, sailing through the waters of the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Denmark.
He sailed out of Limekilns to Norfolk, across the sea to Den Helder in the Netherlands, heading east along the Frisian Islands. Heading up the River Elbe, he turned his small 23ft Hunter Horizon, called Artemis, into the Kiel Canal to cut across into the Baltic Sea heading to the Polish border city of Szczecin.
At this stage he started making his way south into the continent down the River Oder and into the Havel, a tributary of the Elbe, through the canal, eventually arriving at Berlin.
Making slight variations on the way back, he also managed to see the shores of Denmark.
Sailing to the German capital may be an odd choice, considering it is well over a 100 miles in-land, but Murdoch explained how a few years ago, he spotted a ship registered to the city at an international yacht gathering.
Thinking Berlin, being so far in-land, can’t possibly have a port, he went to see the skipper of the ship. Mr McGregor was told there are in fact many ships in the city and inquired about getting there.
Murdoch, who used to work in the pits, told the Advertiser: “Berlin being the iconic city it is, that sits in the middle of Germany – that caught my imagination.”
But there was another reason behind his choice; last year, when spending around a month at the Shetland Isles, he became friends with German sailor Rüdiger Engel and his son Alexander, who gave him the final push. He invited Murdoch to visit them in their home-waters around the Baltic, which was “as good as it promised”.

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Spending nearly 100 days sailing by one’s self may sound lonely, but the 77-year-old explained: “When I’m at home I love taking people out on my boat, I love sharing my boat.
“But these longer journeys I like to do myself. I enjoy my own company and also, when you are on your own, the special moments that you do get at sea are even more special.”
He added that arriving safely at a harbour at the end of a hard day at sea on his own, can give him “immense satisfaction” as he sits down for a cuppa.
A late developer, Murdoch had never been in a sailboat until he was 72, but, born and bred in Alloa, he had been around boats and ships from a young age.
In his first year sailing he just practised around the Forth Estuary, but was not afraid to step it up and sailed right around Scotland the year after.
He followed it up with a voyage to the Hebrides as well as Orkney and Shetland the year after.
During his time in Berlin, he was hosted by another German friend in the Oberspree Sailing Club’s marina.

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His time in the German capital was also full of experiences and adventures, but is perhaps a story for a blog, titled “Life can take you anywhere if you seize the day”. Murdoch hopes to write about his adventures in the near-future.